Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

‘It’s A Small World’ Disney Designer Rolly Crump Dies At 93

The exterior of It's A Small World, featuring a smiling clock up front and the ride's paneled design, largely white with gold flourishes, as well as some blue touches. You can see the plaque welcoming fans to the attraction, as well as topiary plants including dolphins. A white fence protects the foliage. A small brick wall and stairs are seen in the background.
The It's A Small World attraction at Disneyland.
(Paul Hiffmeyer
Disneyland Resorts)
Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Roland “Rolly” Crump — a legendary Disneyland theme park attraction designer and an animator on classic Disney films — died Sunday morning at his Carlsbad home, according to the Facebook page for his 2012 autobiography, It’s Kind Of A Cute Story. Crump was 93 years old, celebrating his most recent birthday on Feb. 27.

His iconic design work is still featured in longtime attractions including It’s A Small World, the Haunted Mansion, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. He also contributed to the design of the Adventureland Bazaar and Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Crump got his start as an assistant animator on films including Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty.

He was a key designer on the Disney attractions featured in the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, according to Disney, including designing It’s A Small World’s “Tower of the Four Winds” marquee. He also designed the giant animated clock at the ride’s entrance when it moved from the fair to Disneyland in 1966.

Support for LAist comes from

His early years

Walt Disney, a middle-aged to older man wearing a suit, looks up at an animatronic green and yellow bird sitting on a perch. The bird's name tag below reads "Jose." People sit in the audience in the background, wearing clothing that appears to be from the 1960s. Other tiki decorations are seen throughout in the thatched-appearing building. There are also other animatronic birds in the background.
Walt Disney at the Enchanted Tiki Room, which opened on June 23, 1963.
Disneyland Resort)

Crump, born in Alhambra, was inducted into Disney’s Legends Hall of Fame in 2004. He started working for Disney in 1952 before becoming an Imagineer in 1959. He left for several years in the 1970s, doing projects for Knott’s Berry Farm (Knott’s Bear-y Tales, which closed in 1986), Busch Gardens both in California and Florida, as well as others. But he returned to take on Epcot Center, working on The Land and the Wonders of Life pavilions. He also helped in planning a Disneyland expansion before leaving again in 1981.

Crump returned to Disney one more time in 1992 before retiring in 1996 — but he couldn’t stay away, continuing to contribute to projects after his retirement.

In 2009, Crump’s contributions were immortalized on Disneyland’s Main Street USA. That’s when, according to Yesterland, a sign for “Fargo’s Palm Parlor” was added — a reference to Crump’s middle name. A window on the building has a few more inside references to Crump, noting that its predictions will “haunt” you and that the predictions are whimsical, weird, and “bazaar.” The bottom of the window lists the palm reader’s assistant as Roland Crump himself.

On his Facebook page, his family wrote:

“Rolly and his family would like to thank the fans for supporting his work over the years. His entire life was filled with one ‘kind of a cute story’ after the next, and he will be remembered with lots of love.”

What questions do you have about film, TV, music, or arts and entertainment?
Mike Roe helps you figure out what is worth your time and introduces you to other talented Angelenos who make it happen.

Most Read